Brief information on the two field surveys in Istanbul.
Survey I: A Squatter Town in Istanbul: Umraniye (in Turkish, Erder 1996). The focus of this study was mobility structures and networks of migrants in relation to informal housing and job markets. This field survey was conducted in one of the peripheral areas of Istanbul, Umraniye, where the transformation from a village to an urban site has taken place and where informal housing activities were intense.
This survey was designed as a three-step research project and both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used in each step. The first and second phases of the survey were on the development of the political and administrative structures in the area. The process of founding formal urban institutions, struggles between local power groups, changes in the priorities and tendencies, etc., were examined. The third phase of the field survey was on the “households” residing in the area. In this phase of the survey, migration, work, and housing histories and the effectiveness of familial networks for the households were investigated. For this phase of the survey, a zone was selected covering three subdistricts from the centre to the outskirts of the municipality, to capture the inner differentiation within the area. The structured interviews and in-depth interviews provided information on the differentiation and stratification within the migrant groups and, thus, on their mobility channels.
Survey II: Urban Conflict and Informal Networks (in Turkish, Erder 1997).
The main focus of this study was to identify major areas of conflict between urban groups. For this purpose, observations have been made on issues and major sources of urban inequality; effects of unequal access to urban facilities on the construction of daily life; local informal networks; social movements, and the modes of relations with supra-local institutions.
This study was a qualitative research project mainly based on in-depth interviews with local informal groups and representatives of supra-local institutions, such as municipality, political parties, educational and health administrations, labour office, media, etc. The survey was undertaken in a district of Istanbul (Pendik) where heterogeneous urban groups were living. Both urban middle class and the poorest sections of rural migrant groups could be found in the same district. Living in the same district, these differing groups were the clients of the same supra-local institutions. This situation provided the opportunity to observe and to make comparisons about differing modes of relations with supra-local institutions. For this purpose, interviews with the representatives of local and supra-local formal institutions and with informal local groups were undertaken. This provided information on the perceptions, motives, and modes of demand of differing local groups. In addition, they provided insights into the perception and responses of the officials to these demands. Thus, the analysis of these information sources made possible the identification of conflict areas between differing urban groups and supra-local institutions.